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With a tidy plot, clean animation, and humor that fits its source material snugly, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is entertainment that won't drive a wedge between family members.
All Critics (128)
| Top Critics (27)
| Fresh (112)
| Rotten (16)
David Soren's computer-animated adaptation of Dav Pilkey's hit series of children's books avoids the pitfalls with enough success to amuse all ages.
It's a thoroughly entertaining and likable film: two qualities that look easy but are anything but. Captain Underpants deserves a franchise.
Just when your brain's starting to ache, the film chucks in another subversive crack about America's failing school system, or a genuinely hilarious sock-puppet-animated flashback.
In the end, it's impossible to ignore the fact that this feature is devoid of even the simplest positive morals or takeaways. And it's not quite funny or wry enough to forgive its weaknesses.
It's a bird! it's a plane! It's a kids' movie that won't make grownups want to manually remove their own toenails!
The friendship of George and Harold is celebrated, and the cheery vocal work of Hart and Middleditch gives the picture its sprightly spirit.
The heart and unrelenting likability of this film should charm even the most hardened viewer.
I was really charmed by this film.
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie makes its intentions clear from the very beginning. This movie is unapologetically ridiculous, yet never feels shallow or condescending.
Even if you haven't got kids, give it a sneaky viewing for some fun and to marvel at Uranus.
Mindless, poop-joke filled fun that celebrates the importance of a loyal friendship.
The absent-minded plot and paper-thin themes do often make the film feel more like several episodes of a cartoon show stuck together rather than a feature film ...
Based on a children's book series of the same name which I've never heard of (no surprise). The first epic movie? So are there going to be sequels? If not then this title will look kinda silly no?
The plot: George and Harold are best friends and a pair of practical jokers in their school. At school you would have the usual array of characters such as the bully, nerd, jock, princess etc...Well these two were the pranksters. Their target being their grumpy principal Mr Krupp. One day after meddling with a fellow students invention Krupp decides to separate them which destroys the boys lives basically. In order to reverse this decision the duo hypnotise Krupp with a 'hypno ring' from a cereal box. They instruct Krupp to be more like Captain Underpants, a comicbook character they themselves created.
For a time everything is going smoothly with the boys controlling Krupp as Captain Underpants. That is until a German scientist called Professor Pippy P. Poopypants arrives at the school. It seems that the professor is trying to rid the world of laughter (because he's fed up with people mocking his name). So now its up to Captain Underpants to save the world, but will the boys keep the Captain or reverse him back to Krupp?
So as I'm sure you can tell from the character names here, this movie is inherently a kids feature (with names like Professor Pippy P. Poopypants I'm sure that's not a surprise). The whole idea of a superhero character running around in his underpants is of course an old joke passed down over the generations that (I believe) stems from Superman and his outfit. You know because Superman has those red pants on his outfit which look like underpants, which kinda look like they should be under his outfit. So since that very first incarnation there has always been this silly gag about superheroes and underpants which kids have always enjoyed. Whether or not this quirky character has anything to do with that I don't know, but its a safe bet.
So the movie is extremely childish, because its aimed at young kids. The main protagonists spend their days drawing comicbooks in their treehouse and playing pranks. There's loads of school references (albeit more American) that kids will love to hate. Lots of kiddie toilet humour. And the mcguffin they use to hypnotise Krupp is from a cereal box, a cereal box! I remember the days when hunting for little collectible toys in cereal boxes was part and parcel of my childhood, an important part of the breakfast ritual. Literally everything the duo get up to is aimed squarely at kids because they will relate to it fully. Adults will most probably receive ripples of nostalgia but will possibly find things a bit too Saturday morning cartoonish.
The real treat comes in the form of the movie visuals, something us adults can appreciate. The entire film is mainly CGI naturally but it has that claymation look to it. Everything is big round and solid with few edges, as if everything was made out of solid balloons. Its basically the same visual style as the 'The Peanuts Movie' but much much more colourful and vivid. You kinda wanna eat what you're seeing on the screen, it all looks deliciously edible. But next to that we also get snippets of other animation forms such as hand drawn, cutout, flash and a wicked little sock puppet sequence. Yes we've seen this type of thing before but its definitely a winning move. It all adds a really cool blend of dynamic visuals and imagination into the mix. Not that this movie lacks imagination, hell no, but its just really cool to see other forms of animation (one lasting plus point of the 'The Simpsons').
After doing a bit of research I was also impressed at how close to the original source material the visuals were. They really did stick to the book and capture that, dare I say, crude hand drawn style which is obviously mimicking children's drawings. All they did was make it pop in colourful CGI, kudos. Now I think about it the movies visuals also had a kind of Nintendo vibe about them I think (especially Poopypants giant toilet). An early 80's NES vibe about it, it could almost be a Mario movie if you use your imagination. I could easily see the Mushroom Kingdom being brought to life with these visuals.
So whilst the visuals were terrific the plot was a rollercoaster for me. The movie starts out good enough with the boys doing what they do and then discovering how they can bring Captain Underpants to life, so to speak. That was all relatively relatable and jolly. But everything just gets way too crazy and off the wall when Poopypants turns up. Not having read the books I can't comment on how accurate it all was, and being an adult I'm not the target audience here. But the entire zombie thing had me rolling my eyes, because that isn't the go-to option for virtually everything is it. And Poopypants giant toilet invention is basically [b]too[/b] off the wall frankly, its almost [i]South Park[/i] levels of absurdity. Its all just a bit too weekday cartoonish for me, and probably other adults. But yeah, its stupid, its silly, its enjoyable, its for kids. Simple as that really.
I get why a Captain Underpants movie was made. The climate is pretty much as ripe for superhero parody as it's ever going to be, Captain Underpants has enjoyed moderate achievement in terms of being a household name, I even remember more or less enjoying the books as a kid. But Captain Underpants is pretty bad. Not in any unexpected ways, it's reasonable to expect a certain level of humour from a film whose titular hero has "Underpants" in the name, but in my honest opinion, The "First" Epic Movie, should probably be the last one too.
There's not many kids' movies that you might want to sit through yourself, but lo, this one is one. Aimed solidly at early grammar school ages, there's enough fired over their little heads to keep awake the most bored of adult seen-it-alls. The worst thing about this feature is that you may find yourself whispering (and I do hope you're whispering) Captain Underpants battle cry the next day. To yourself. Only to yourself. Please.
Films directed at children can be hit or miss, in the fact that they may rely too heavily on potty humour or silly slapstick gags. Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is actually both of those things, but in the best way possible. For everything this film showcases, it had no right to be as funny or as clever was its final product is. As a kid, I grew up reading every one of these novels, so it definitely helps with the overall experience if you have that backing it up, but if you're going in with fresh eyes, I can see most people falling in love with this silly premise. This is a hard film to critique, because it's cliched from beginning to end, but it's incredibly self-aware and flips the genre on its head. Here is why I believe everyone should be checking out the harmlessly well-made Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie.
The children's books were very much like comic books themselves, but the way the story is brought to life here was fantastic. Following Harold and George, two best friends who like to create comic books about a superhero called Captain Underpants, who find a way of turning their evil principal into that titular hero, only to realize that their trick may not be all it's cracked up to be, there is an enormous amount of silly fun to be had here. The premise itself is unique, but it's the jokes and overall message that this film is able to conjure up that really make it worth while. The gags spread throughout this film are laugh-out-loud funny and I wasn't expecting that going in.
When I first heard about this film, I was worried that it would be a cash grab in that it wouldn't be truly satisfying the fans of the original material, but thankfully, it does so in spades. From the names of stores, signs on front lawns, there are subtle jokes in the forefront that are made completely obvious, and there are others hidden in the background as well. When there isn't something all that funny happening on purpose, the background will always have a hidden gag to compensate and I was chuckling throughout my entire viewing experience. Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is the most I have genuinely laughed at a film in a very long time. For how juvenile it is, I was surprised how much I enjoyed it.
From the very first few minutes of this film, you'll know the type of humour you're in for. It was crucial to this story that it doesn't stray too far away from the silliness and it did a very solid job. It definitely meanders in the second act and there are a few times where the premise became a little too outlandish for adults to fully enjoy, but it is a kids film overall. Unlike films like Inside Out or Wreck-It Ralph that are directed at kids, but have much deeper meanings, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is the lowest common denominator of comedy, and yet the writers (who are the original writers of the books) are able to skate around any eye rollers. Never once did I think an endless amount of poop jokes would be funny, but it's done very cleverly and I found it irresistible.
In the end, the trailers for this film make it look a little too silly and I can see the majority of adults being turned off, but please, don't let the trailers fool you. This is a very smartly written film and if you really think about each joke and pay attention to every word the characters are saying, it's either poking fun at society or at its own story. There is so much to love about Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie. That being said, if it wasn't for the great script, this would've fallen into muddy waters. Literally the only saving grace is the fact that it's smart. It really is just another silly kids movie on the surface, but you need to look past that to see the greatness.
It's almost too dumb and simple for its own good, but as a film, it's really, really good. I may have been back-pedalling a bit there at the end, but that's only because it's not a perfect film, but no movie is. Captain Underpants: The FIrst Epic Movie deserves to make money and definitely deserves a sequel. Highly recommended to fans of the source material or anyone who it just looking for a fun story or a good laugh. I had a smile on my face the entire time and it will definitely warrant multiple viewings on my end. If you can't decide on a movie to see, check this one out.
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